Fact: if you haven't played Devil May Cry 3, you don't understand how hard it is. You might think you know - you might even have had a little chuckle at people who complain about it - but you just don't get it. DMC was that special sort of hard that doesn't care about focus-testing or everyone seeing all the beautifully-designed later levels. You didn't so much enjoy missions as endure them, and you didn't so much revel in beating bosses as breathe a sigh of relief that you'd never have to fight them again. You would have to fight them again, of course - albeit in a slightly remixed form - but by then you'd have upgraded all your abilities and
they'd be fractionally less impossible to beat. But anyway. The point is, when we say that Capcom have made it easier for this special edition and suggest that that's a good thing, don't take it as some sort of insult to your gaming manliness. We know you're a stud with a DualShock, cowboy - it's just that you might enjoy things more when you aren't always one moment of sloppiness away from doing an entire level again.
Don't get us wrong, compared to most games, this Special Edition's still harder than Batman - it just won't make you cry any more. The biggest change is the Continue option. Previously, DMC made you go through each level - boss and all - at one go. If you wanted to continue, you had to use a yellow Vital Star, which were expensive and only guaranteed one more go anyway. If you made a mistake - say, getting a bit careless with the low-level monsters - it was almost worth starting again. If you made a bigger blunder - like not bothering to buy the Air Hike ability before the third boss - you might have to redo two levels.
Now, though, things are different. Although the entire game's ever so slightly easier, the Gold option (as opposed to International) adds continue points at key moments and before every boss. Simply by adding these, Capcom haven't just made things less frustrating - they've actually made it easier to play DMC the way you're supposed to. Instead of staying at a distance from everything and blowing it to bits with your handguns - minimising the damage you take for the later, trickier bits - you're free to get stuck in, swing that sword and try to work out some combos. Instead of running away from the bosses, taking twenty minutes to wear them down with gunfire, you can jump in and try to work out their weak spots. Just by taking away the vicious punishments for failure, they've made this a more fluid, more fun game.
REMAKE IT BETTER
In fact, it's only when you start playing like this that you understand how well put together Devil May Cry actually is. After a second instalment that almost destroyed Dante's rep with annoying camera movement and useless special moves, this is better than a return to form. Dante's been reinvented to appeal to those impressionable teenage girls who write slash fiction about him on the internet - all foppish hair and bare chest, with an attitude that's part un-killable demon hunter and part Lindsay Lohan. Capcom have drafted in one of the fight choreographers behind top Jzombie flick Versus to make the cut-scenes, and the results are like violent ballet. Witness the moment when Dante's evil brother catches a load of bullets on a whirling sword and flings them back... only for Dante to slice them neatly in half. It's a beautiful thing. The main improvement, though, is the Style system. Dante's got four styles - Gunslinger, Trickster, Swordmaster and Royal Guard - and each suits a certain style of play, levelling up with prolonged use. Our favourite is Trickster - allowing you to nip in and out with quick hits and combo-kill enemies - but veterans might want to test themselves with the elegant Royal Guard for huge combos and massive Style points. The whole system works beautifully - and again, the slight alteration in difficulty means you're less likely to be punished for flitting between styles rather than sticking with just one all the way through.